Community Stories: Margaret in Buckhurst Hill
Studies show that over half of us don’t know our neighbours. This was certainly true before this crisis began, but is it still true now?
One of the main inspirations in these times is the newfound connections we are building. For some of us, it’s shopping for the elderly neighbour we haven’t spoken to previously, for others, it’s joining a WhatsApp group with everyone on their street.
In Buckhurst Hill, Margaret and the rest of her Great Get Together group are doing amazing work to build new connections in their community. Towards the beginning of the crisis, the most active group members on Margaret’s street set up a Whatsapp group to better support each other. It quickly grew to 45 people and has been growing ever since. Many of these people didn’t know each other before the crisis, but social distancing motivated them to be more connected. Last month, the group turned out for Ken’s birthday. Ken, who is 81, has lived down the street since 1964 and was delighted to see so many people turn out for his birthday. Very few of us could imagine doing this for someone we didn’t know before the crisis, but as Margaret says, “The lockdown has made us all more conscious of each other”.
Margaret also told us, “Everyone wants a party when it [the lockdown] is over”. We might be able to help there when the time comes. However, in the meantime, we want to focus on what we are able to do now. Originally we thought we’d have to cancel this year’s Great Get Together, but stories like Margaret’s have inspired us to do what we can in these challenging times. This year’s Great Get Together won’t be in its traditional form, but we think it will still be fun. There is still plenty we can do to connect whilst staying safe.
Over June 19-21st, we are asking you to join us in celebrating the power of community. You can see a few of our ideas here on how to do this. We want to hear your ideas on how you’re building new connections too. Tell us all about it here.
Perhaps by the time we can hold a traditional Great Get Together, we will all have a new connection to build on, and we will all be better off for it.